Specials

Lutron’s Wireless Climate Control Decreases Wall Acne

Lutron is justifiably famous for their lighting control and electronic shades: now they have a new product offering up their sleeve that works well for both new construction and remodel projects. Lutron just released a new wireless climate control system (HVAC) that greatly improves on the good ol’ thermostat. Here are the main details:

  • A small wireless on-wall temperature sensor is placed where it will monitor the temperature most efficiently (2 or more can be used to average temperatures in an area). The changeable battery has a 5-year life (Lutron also includes a wired return air duct sensor is included for backup, just in case the wireless temp sensor needs a new battery).
  • Lutron’s seeTemp wall control (what we think of as the ‘thermostat’) may be ganged next to Decora light switches, dimmers, or Lutron’s own lighting control keypads (both HomeWorks and RadioRA2) to minimize wall clutter. Available in 27 different gloss and satin colors, and a Celsius version is available, too. The seeTemp control gets its power either from existing thermostat wiring, 120v AC, or 24v DC. Since the Lutron Wall Control does not have to be wired back to your heater or A/C unit, you can put these in many new and convenient places.
  • The only wired component is the ‘HVAC Controller’, which connects to your existing or new HVAC equipment…the HVAC Controller communicates wirelessly with the seeTemp wall controls and temp sensors and ties the system together. This controller device is hidden away, and mounted right next to your big HVAC unit.
  • Optional control from your Android phone, iPhone, iPad, or iPad touch both in the home and/or anywhere in the world using a $19.95 Lutron app in iTunes and the Android Market.
  • This system can be controlled from popular 3rd party home automation control systems like  AMX, Control4 and Elan.
  • Ability to set temperature schedules through the seeTemp wall control, Android, Apple apps, or through the 3rd party control systems mentioned above.
  • Works with Lutron’s wirless occupancy/vacancy sensors…select a temperature set point when a room is occupied and another when no one is around (save energy).
  • Ability to completely eliminate visible wall controls (the seeTemp) IF using your Android phone, iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or the above-mentioned home automation control systems.

Lutron RadioRA2 lighting and climate control

According to www.energystar.gov, you can save up to 16% of the energy used on HVAC with temperature controls, so a ‘smart’ climate control system is worth it, both for lower energy bills and reducing your carbon footprint.

This HVAC system allows for much more flexibility & convenience than a typical thermostat system, as the wall controls may be placed where they make sense aesthetically and for ease of access. Less wall clutter!

This is an excellent new climate control system, but there are a few limitations: you can have a maximum of 2 HVAC Controllers, and each can communicate with a maximum of 5 temp sensors, so the system will accommodate 10 climate zones max. At this point, there is no humidity monitoring/control and no outdoor temperature sensor.

Integrating climate controls with home automation systems and eliminating wall clutter is not new (we’ve been doing it for years), but the exciting news is that Lutron’s new system can easily be retrofitted to existing homes and gives some of the same benefits of integrated climate control without having to invest in a full home automation system.

For greater convenience and energy savings, you should couple this climate control system with RadioRA 2 lighting controls and Sivoia motorized shades. Then, you can have a “Green” button on the keypad that dims the lights 5%, lowers the shades to block heat gain, and set back the temperature 2%. Likewise, when leaving for vacation, you can press an “Away” button that triggers lighting scene patterns that give your home an occupied look and sets back the thermostats to an energy-saving set point. Convenience and energy savings both!

Aggies Win, Aggies Win… Aggies Win !!!

How sweet it sounds.

Congratulations Coach Blair, Schaefer, Kelly, Harris and the entire Lady Aggie Basketball Team on your phenomenal accomplishment of WINNING the NCAA Women’s Basketball Final in Indy!

April 5: Texas A&M players celebrate with the trophy after their 76-70 win over Notre Dame in the women's NCAA Final Four college basketball championship game in Indianapolis.

Congrats Lady Ags on advancing to the Final 4

Sydney Carter scored 22 points and Texas A&M finally beat Baylor, 58-46 on Tuesday night to send the Aggies to their first Final Four in school history.

Brett at Audio Video is the BCS Video Guru!

What to look for when buying a HDTV

The goal of every TV is to accurately reproduce the image that was captured by the camera. There are four primary factors that contribute to our perception of video quality.  Here they are, in order of importance:

  1. Contrast

    Brett at Audio Video is the BCS Video Guru!

  2. Color Saturation
  3. Correct color
  4. Resolution

Contrast – Also known as black level, contrast measures the difference between a TV or projector’s black and white light output and is measured as a contrast ratio of white light output to black light output and is one of the most important of the four factors. In a perfect world, we’d see zero light for black and very bright light for white. For example, a very high contrast ratio measured in a commercial theater might be as high as 300:1. We typically measure contrast with a black and white checkerboard pattern displayed on screen, and observe the differences between the white squares and the black squares.

I know you’re asking, what about TVs with advertised contrast ratios of 10,000:1, 50,000:1, or even 150,000:1?”  The answer to that simple: it’s marketing. While contrast is very important, you really can’t take a manufacturer’s specification of contrast ratio seriously. For the ultimate in contrast, it’s best to have your new TV or projector professionally calibrated by experts.

Color saturation – A TV or projector’s ability to reproduce deep, rich colors is called color saturation However, there’s something to be said for striking a balance between undersaturated and oversaturated colors–with the latter resulting an artificially bright image. And while some TVs are better at producing deep colors than others, perfect color saturation is something that can only be truly achieved by a professional calibrating expert.

Color correctness – The color video signal we see is actually made up of a combination of red, green and blue. When our TVs display the correct amount of these three primary colors, the image appears correct and natural. However, if the level of just one is incorrect, you will instantly see something wrong with the picture. Many manufacturers and retailers will increase red and blue levels in order to make a TV appear brighter on a showroom floor. While it succeeds in producing a brighter image, often times this tweak results in an unnatural, almost cartoon-like appearance. Proper color correctness can have a huge impact on your TV, and it’s something that is best to be left to the calibration experts.

Resolution – Simply put, resolution is the number of pixels the display can use to re-draw the image. The more pixels a TV can reproduce, the more detailed image it can display. Here in North America, there are five common levels of resolution:

  • 480i – 480 lines of resolution, interlaced scan (regular standard-definition TV)
  • 480p - 480 lines of resolution, progressive scan (DVD-quality enhanced definition)
  • 720p – 720 lines of resolution, progressive scan (broadcast HDTV – Fox, ABC, ESPN, etc.)
  • 1080i – 1080 lines of resolution, interlaced scan (broadcast HDTV – CBS, NBC, etc.)
  • 1080p – 1080 lines of resolution, progressive scan (Blu-ray Disc)

Of those, the last three HDTV formats are the ones that dominate the video landscape today, with 1080p coming into popularity as Sony’s Blu-Ray Disc technology gains market share. There are two factors at work in each of these specifications–the first is the number of lines the TV can draw (more is better), and the second is progressive and interlaced scanning methods. Interlaced formats such as 1080i draws even lines in one frame and odd lines in the next, which can sometimes lead to motion artifacting during action-packed scenes. Progressive scanning redraws the entire screen on every frame, which is why it’s the superior format, especially for live-action sports and other motion-intensive programs. And while resolution is an important factor when choosing a new TV or projector, most experts agree that resolution needs to be doubled for the human eye to discern a difference in resolution.

tv

Why are TV commercials SO LOUD?

The TV station isn’t turning up the volume when the commercials run, but that’s not the complete answer. Otherwise, you wouldn’t need to reach for the remote to turn down the volume during the commercial break.

A TV program has a mix of audio levels. There are loud parts and soft parts. Nuance is used to increase the dramatic effect.

Blame advertisers! Most advertisers don’t want nuance. They want to grab your attention. To do that, the audio track is electronically processed to make every part of it as loud as possible within legal limits.

12 Must-Have HDTV Apps

Today’s connected TVs can deliver endless alternatives to the typical channel lineup.

Netflix

Dailymotion

Pandora Radio

MLB.TV

Explore 3D

Hulu Plus

AP News Ticker

Epicurious

VUDU

Flickr

Amazon Video on Demand

Skype



Panasonic Viera Top Pick by Cnet

Panasonic’s Viera picked 2010′s “Best Performing TV” by Cnet.

The Cnet Reviewer talks about this excellent 2D and 3D television that has been applauded for it’s amazing color and video. Also, the internet capability provides you the latest in weather, Netflix, Amazon Video on Demand. Watch the entire review here:

Panasonic Viera TC-PVT25

Merry Christmas AV

To our customers and friends,

As the year winds down… the last few weeks can sure be busy! I hope you have moment to enjoy the little things— relaxing to your favorite song or the escaping the hustle to enjoy a movie with your family.

I’d like to genuinely thank you for making 2010, our 34th year in business, a great one! I hope you and yours have a Merry Christmas and a great 2011!

Gene Joyce

Yogi Bear 3D

Dan Aykroyd and Justin Timberlake are back in “Yogi Bear 3D” by Warner. Entity FX provided a lot of the special effects such as extensive greenscreen compositing, sky replacement and image adjustment.

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Entity FX specializes in visual effects for feature film, television and commercials with services in pre-visualization, on-set supervision, virtual backgrounds, matte painting, environmental effects, compositing, CG animation, specialty photography and more.

Strawberry Fields Forever… in 3D

Maybe you will soon eat strawberries picked by a 3D vision equipped robot at a rate of 9 seconds per berry…
The Institute of Agricultural Machinery at Japan’s National Agriculture and Food Research Organization, along with Seiko, has developed a robot that can select and harvest strawberries based on their color. Ripened berries are detected using the robot’s stereoscopic cameras, and analyzed to measure how red they appear. When the fruit is ready to come off the vine, the robot quickly locates it in 3D space and cuts it free.

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